On April 5, 13 Eastern students made the three and a half hour trek to Pennsylvania State University’s Main Campus with Nerf blasters in hand and bandanas on their arms. Penn State’s Urban Gaming Club hosts a Humans versus Zombies invitational annually, and this year the game attracted nearly 400 students from a variety of colleges, including Ithaca College and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The game spanned the majority of Saturday, with orientation and squad divisions beginning at 7:30 AM, and missions ending around 6 PM.
Before the game weekend began, the invitational featured a detailed storyline. Players received periodic emails after they had registered updating them on the advancement of the story. This year featured “Scientia Laboratories,” and HvZ players were called “interns.” Scientia was said to be involved in the development of weapons and other scientific advancements. However, genetic testing, according to the storyline, caused a zombie apocolypse of sorts. This resulted in the interns having to defend themselves against the infection that was quickly spreading to other people throughout campus. Interns/players were sent on various missions in order to fight off the expanding zombie horde and defend Scientia from destruction.
HvZ is basically a more advanced game of tag. Humans wear bandanas on their arms, while those who are turned into zombies wear them on their heads. The goal of the humans is to complete their designated missions while also holding off the onslaught of the undead by stunning them with Nerf blasters, “deathmallows” (projectile marshmallows), or sock grenades. Zombies must pick off the humans by tagging them, therefore turning them into zombies as well.
Humans versus Zombies first became popular on Eastern’s campus through the Recreational Activities Club about three years ago. The Recreational Activities Club also hosts other campus-wide games such as man hunt and capture the flag. Senior Justin Holdefer, one of the club’s founders, notes that these games, “require strategy, cardio, and a capable blaster.”
Sophomore and HvZ council member Natasha Molino says that she enjoyed the missions at Penn State much more this year because of their complexity. The storyline incorporated the internet and videos, creating a more realistic scenario.
Senior Tiera Austin also loved the invitational. Austin states, “I love the organized chaos that accompanies big Nerf games. It’s a good way to unwind during the end of the semester.”
Holdefer adds, “ I enjoy going to invitationals because the games are done on a much bigger scale than our smaller, more intimate games here. I also enjoy being silly and meeting new people, and running into old teammates from previous years!”
Eastern’s HvZ will be holding a week-long game before the end of the semester. This particular game will require players to survive throughout the week, with missions starting on Friday night and continuing into Saturday. For more information, contact Justin Holdefer at email@example.com